Communication technology has made doing this job a lot easier than when I started writing the Tribune-Herald outdoor column 16 years ago.
Back then, internet and cell phone technology were slow and unreliable, and getting something as simple as a photo could mean hours on the road. These days, thanks to social media, I’m able to find more incredible stories and photos than I can fit into this column.
Sometimes, though, social media causes outdoorsmen more headaches than honor. With more people sharing photos and videos of fish they’ve caught or game they’ve shot, there’s an increase in law enforcement agencies finding poachers and other lawbreakers – with built-in confessions.
If you post a picture of yourself posing with a whitetail buck that you shot, it won’t take a game warden more than a minute to run a license check on you, and if you don’t have a valid hunting license, you’ve just incriminated yourself.
That very thing happened last month down near Goliad, after a guy posted a picture of himself and a deer on Facebook. A game warden noticed that the deer wasn’t tagged, and after running a license check, paid the man a visit. During the interview, he told the warden that he had bought a license and tagged the deer, but after being shown the evidence he had shared with the world, he took his punishment, plus lost the deer.
Taking a cell phone photo of a cleaning table with undersized fish, more than the number of fish allowed, or other wrongdoing, is evidence that can be used against you – and evidence that you’re an idiot. Politicians aren’t the only ones doing stupid things with electronics, and I say if you’re dumb enough to document your misdeeds, you deserve to be thumped.
The best thing to do is live within the laws and regulations that govern the outdoor sports. Conservation only works when everybody plays by the rules, and poaching only makes the restrictions tighter.
Beware of fox sightings
Twice last week, Waco angler Mark Fallon saw some wildlife without having to leave town. The first was a grey fox crossing Bosque Blvd. near the Heart O’ Texas Fairgrounds.
“It was going at maximum speed from the car wash across toward the fairgrounds,” he said. The second sighting was in the same area about an hour before sunrise, as a red fox dashed across New Road from the DQ parking lot and disappeared into a neighborhood.
We’d probably be surprised at the number of wild critters and the variety of species that roam around town at night looking for easy meals and cozy places.
Spears scores buck
Area biologist and avid outdoorsman Josh Sears messaged me last week saying he had just gross-scored a free-range buck at 205’ that was shot in Bosque County.
Look for the full story in next week’s Tribune-Herald outdoors.
Dove season comes back Friday
The second split of dove season opens Friday in all 3 hunting zones of Texas. The rules, regulations, and limits from the first split will be in effect this time around, too.
Check the TPWD Outdoor Annual for information on seasons, laws, and outdoor opportunities.
Taking it too far
Last week, I wrote about getting back to the basics, but you’ve gotta use some common sense and draw the line somewhere.
Recently, a hunter in the Tyler/Longview area went all the way to “caveman” level, and was arrested by a game warden for hunting while naked.
Nudity wasn’t one of the charges, but the fact that he didn’t have a license on him was among them. After his arrest, the man disputed the charges, and took it to court.
During the trial, after hearing testimony, the judge requested the game warden’s bodycam footage. After watching a few seconds of the tape, the judge shut it off and left the courtroom after ruling in the state’s favor.
The hunter decided not to appeal the ruling, and didn’t address the media afterward.